I guess the Big 12 has decided to stay together minus two of its members–Colorado and Nebraska. At first the lure of bright lights and big city of the Pac-10 seemed exciting, but I guess it wasn’t so pretty once all the bright lights were turned off. The Pac-10 was trying to woo several teams from the Big 12 to join their conference and create a mega-conference. The Pac-10 wanted TTU, UT, A&M, OSU, Oklahoma, Colorado. For weeks the “will they or won’t they” game was played out through all the media outlets. The first domino fell when Nebraska bolted to the Big 10. Hey Nebraska good luck with that! Then Colorado was the next domino to fall when they accepted an invite from the Pac 10. For those watching at a distance it looked like a formality the remaining teams in the Big 12 South, minus Baylor, were headed to the Pac 10. But just when you had it all figured out…in comes the hail mary. The University of Texas decided it wanted to keep the Big 12 together and well…what UT wants, UT pretty much gets. All the teams said, “thanks, but not thanks” to the Pac-10.
I am not and never will be a fan of the University of Texas (please note I am an alum of Texas Tech). By most accounts if you ask people who follow college sports, UT “runs” the conference. I mean look at all the posturing during this whole conference realignment. Everyone was courting UT…Big 10, Pac 10, there were even rumors of the SEC wanting them. The life of the Big 12 was hinged on what UT was going to decide. It’s like the movie “A League of Their Own”, where the scout only wanted Geena Davis’ character, Dottie and not the kid sister, Kit. It was only when Kit said if she could get Dottie would he take her. But as you know Kit was always was in her sister’s shadow until she was traded to another team. It was only there was she able to step out of her sister’s shadow. But that is Hollywood. No matter how hard we try, there will teams in the state of Texas that will always be in the shadow of UT.
Some ask will the Big 12 still be as strong as they are right now when the time comes when Colorado and Nebraska are no longer part of the conference? The Big 12 is a strong conference. Big 12 has been a force in football on the national level for several years especially in the Big 12 south division. I looked up to see how many conference championships the South Divison has won since the inception of the Big 12. The South has won 10 of the 14 championships, including the last 6 championships. The last time a team from the North division won was back in 2003 when KSU beat OU. Since then the championship has belonged to a team from the South. To be more specific, it has been either OU or UT in the championship game. Regardless, the South has dominated the conference championship. I am not saying the North isn’t a strong division, but if you just look at these statistics, the North has the weaker teams. Nebraska and Colorado are no slouches either. These two schools have appeared in the championship game a combined total of 9 times–NU (5 times), CU (4 times). However, the North has only won 4 championships–1997(NU), 1999(NU), 2001(CU), 2003(KSU). But I think the Big 12 without CU and NU will be just fine.
Through all of this, you have to remember that like it or not, college athletics is a business. We would all like to think it’s about the student athletes, the fans, and the university, but bottom line it is about the money. Revenue sharing, television package deals, etc…that’s what it is all about…generating money for the schools. I am sure this wasn’t the sole issue on deciding to stay together, but it is the big one. But I wasn’t privy to all the meetings and conversations during this process so perhaps there were some altruistic reasons for keeping the Big 12 together. I just have a hard time believing that when there are millions of dollars being bantered around. Money talks..and the ones with the most, speak the loudest.
I just have to say to Nebraska and Colorado…the grass make look greener on the other side, but just because it looks greener doesn’t mean there aren’t weeds.